The photochemical crosslinking of DNA by 4,5',8 trimethylpsoralen (trioxsalen) has been used to freeze the secondary structures of single stranded DNA molecules of bacteriophage fd at different ionic strengths. These secondary structures (hairpins or looped hairpins) have been visualized in the electron microscope. Most of the single stranded circular fd DNA molecules show only one hairpin after irradiation at 15° in 20 mM NaCl in the presence of trioxsalen. As the ionic strength is increased, more hairpins appear on the DNA molecules. To map these secondary structures, double stranded supercoiled fd DNA (RFI) was cleaved with the restriction enzyme HindII, which makes only one cut on each RFI molecule. After denaturation and crosslinking of the linear single stranded fd DNA (a mixture of viral and complementary strands), all the hairpins have been mapped on the DNA molecule with respect to this HindII site. The results show that these hairpins occur at specific sites. The most stable hairpin has been assigned to the position where the initiation site for the conversion of single stranded fd DNA to the double stranded covalently closed form has been mapped. The remaining hairpins map in or near regions corresponding to in vitro promoter sites on the fd DNA.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 1976
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